So, I owe public thanks to the good folks of Olney, IL (home of the white squirrels). They participate in the One Community, One Book program, and this year they picked Leepike Ridge to be their community title. They foisted free copies on folks out of their local businesses and even went so far as to set up a life-size diorama of Tom and Argus (and corpse) in the front of their Super Wal-Mart. Of course, too many people did find the corpse disturbing, so it moved into schools.
They also brought me in for a day’s worth of events, and the kids kept me hopping throughout–catching biographical errors in paperbacks, prying their way backstage into the creative process, and helpfully suggesting future books, characters, concepts, etc.
And yes, I saw white squirrels in their natural Olney habitat. Two of them.
Thanks to all the people who made it such a great program (and especially to Pat Carlson for all the dirty work). Much gratitude. Cheers.